Alexander Whitelaw (1823-1879) was an ironmaster and MP.
Whitelaw was connected by marriage to the Baird family, which founded the iron smelting firm of William Baird & Co at Gartsherrie in Coatbridge, and became a managing partner in the firm. He was a philanthropist, using some of his wealth to endow churches and schools, including Gartsherrie Academy.
Whitelaw's interest in education led to his becoming chairman of the Glasgow School Board in 1873. The cartoon shows him having administered a thrashing to John Page Hopps, a fellow Board member with whom he had clashed.
Whitelaw was a Conservative and represented Glasgow as an MP from 1874 until his death in 1879.
Reference: Mitchell Library, GC 920.04 BAI
Reproduced with the permission of Glasgow City Council, Libraries Information and Learning
churches, Conservative Party, education, Gartsherrie Academy, Glasgow School Board, iron, ironmasters, Members of Parliament, MPs, philanthropist, schools, William Baird & Co